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Rice bowl of Odisha in Despair

Umakanta Mishra & Radhakanta Barik

A group of barefoot researchers from Ravenshaw University wanted to study any serious thing happening in our society. We did a study on attack on monks recently. This is the second study we did by conducting the field work in Baragarh district which is the rice bowl of Odisha or known as Punjab of the state. We went there and spent some time by meeting individual family where suicide has taken place. Moreover, we discussed the matter with the villagers whose views we take seriously. The district gradually saw a shifting from the multi cropping pattern to predominantly rice paddy cultivation in the last three decades. They used to cultivate rice, millet and dal etc but today it has gone for cultivating only rice which is hybrid that is Swarna. This hybrid seeds they buy from the market. They use mechanised cultivation. They use fertiliser and pesticide for better growth of rice. Except their labour they depend on market for all their inputs and selling their outputs. In 2003 distress sell started which helped the traders, largely Marwaris, to make easy money by cheating both farmers and government. They are the millers who used to buy from the farmers authorised by the government of Odisha. It is ironical the demand for procurement by the central government through Food Corporation of India has not met despite the chief minister Naveen Patnaik sending his request. It seems in a backward state the Marwaris are a powerful social group with their solid network and influence over the administration can sabotage any public policy for the public. There was public agitation by the farming community of Baragarh resulting in protecting their interests to some extent. Today they feel that they do not have organisation to pressurise the government to get their demand accepted. This is ironical in democracy that public action does not produce result although the chief minister is a pro-poor political leader in the state. There are ABC who are able to sabotage the public policy. A stands for administration, B stands for business and C for contractor; they combinedly can sabotage the public policy. The chief minister has announced a package for drought prone area to prevent farmer's suicide, but things are not falling in the line to stop these suicides. All our case studies explain that young couple are unable to face the agrarian crisis which is resulting suicide of the male partners. This is creating a situation that young women with their siblings in their lap may join the brigade of destitute begging in the streets.

 Introduction
The rice bowl of Odisha, Baragarh district, is living in great despair and simmering with discontentment. The despair has manifested in numerous suicides committed by farmers in the district. The discontentment is expressed in protests by peasantry against insensitive remarks of the people in power, who dismissed farmers suicide as unrelated to agrarian crisis.  About 111 farmers have committed suicide in Orissa and 21 in Bargarh district. The suicide of farmers raises many complex issues that the agrarian and rural India faces today. The state government and its administration dismiss these suicides in rural Odisha as unrelated to agrarian crises. At the same time the democratically elected popular government of Navin Patnaik has declared a slew of measures to ameliorate the agrarian crisis in this season in order to pacify popular anger.  The field visit to Bargarh district and the interaction with families of farmers who committed suicide reveal that farmers are in deep crisis and morass indebtedness which warrant fundamental transformation in the structure of rural economy. The worst suffers of the crisis was tenant farmers of Odisha who enjoy no legal protection from the state and therefore receives no benefits from the state. Most of the tenant farmers belong to agricultural labour class. Eighty percent of these agricultural labourers depend on tenancy [1].

Filed visit to Bargarh district and interaction with eight deceased farmers’ families have brought to fore many important aspects facing agriculture. The persistent crop failure in the face of the rising input cost, increase in consumption and social expenditure, especially in health and education has led to indebtedness. Almost all eight families we visited, the accumulative loan is two lakhs for each family. In all cases, loans have been taken from institutionalised and non-institutionalised agencies. Second, the National Crop Insurance Scheme in irrigated area as well as crop-insurance in non-irrigated area covers very limited famers and the recognition of block (for the last two years It is Panchayats) as a unit of insurance deprives individual farmers from getting benefits. Third, Bargarh district where Minimum Support Price for paddy is given through Primary Agricultural Credit Cooperative Societies (PACS), the administrative arm-twisting and red tapism has deprived many from selling paddy to farmers. In the village Debhal in the fertile Attabira block, where Rahul Gandhi met the family members of deceased peasant Sananda Kathara on June 21 2015, the family alleged that they could not sell the paddy due to non-issuance of Identity card to Sanand Marandi by PACS (Primary Agricultural Credit Cooperative Society) due to non payment of irrigation taxes.

Usual Scripts of denial of suicide and demand for Central grant
In January 2012, hailstorm destroyed fruits of labour in many parts of Odisha, including in Bargarh destroying the vegetables and winter paddy.[2] Then came the Phalin in 2013. This year, 2015, the rainfall was inadequate in 173 blocks out of 314 of Odisha.[3] The persistent crop failure in the face of rising input cost of farming, rising consumption and social expenditure, especially for marginal and small farmers has led to increase in indebtedness of famers and the worst sufferers were the tenant farmers. The failure of paddy cultivation due to drought drove farmers to desperation, resulting in the suicide of 111 farmers so far this year. The State government denies farmers suicide, and claims that indebtedness and crop failures are not the causes of the farmers’ suicide. On the other hand, the state government in its report to the Centre demanded 1687 crore assistance to manage drought in Odisha in 173 out of 2314 blocks of Odisha. It has asked for Rs 912.6 crore for expansion of credit facilities through PACS to the famers and 416 crore as input subsidy accepting wily-nilly the fact that rural indebtedness is indeed one of the causes of farmers’ woes.[4] Notwithstanding the denial mode of the district administration and the state government, the agrarian crisis and indebtedness in Odisha raised issues about the tenurial famers on whom the bulk of the farming today rests.

Pathos of Farmers
Bargarh, known as rice bowl of Odisha, has emerged as agriculturally fertile belt on account of the development of Hirakud Dam in 1950s.[5] Kriskak Sangathan, led by peasant Socialist leader Kissen Pattnaik, also organised the peasants and fought for peasant’s cause. Therefore, the Bargarh famers has been quite articulate about agrarian demands. The district consists of 12 blocks out of which we visited three blocks which benefitted from Hirakud Command Area, namely, Attabira, Bargarh, Barapalli and four non-irrigated blocks, namely, Padmapur, Gaisalet, Bijepur and Bhatli which are largely rain-fed but have few micro irrigation projects.  Out of 49.9 hundred thousand hectares of irrigable land, the 33.12 lakh hectares of land have been brought under irrigation potential.[6] However, many of the micro irrigation and lift irrigation points are not working. As per the official statistics of the Water resources department only 71.55 % of the irrigated potential has been utilised. To rationalize irrigation development in the state, the Government has decided to provide irrigation facilities to at least to 35% of the cultivable land in each of 314 blocks during 10th Plan. Preliminary scrutiny reveals that irrigation coverage in 198 blocks is less than 35% of the cultivable area at the beginning of 10th Plan. The improvement since then is that only 78 out of 198 blocks have achieved 35 % coverage target by March 2014. [7] When we visited the families of deceased farmer Thikadar Sahu in Tungibandhalli in Sohella Block of Bargarh, family members shoed us the Utali Mino Irrigation Project which whose construction was over in 2008 but there is no canal since then resulting in a huge lake in the Utali river in Tungaribandha village but without irrigation facility to desperate farmers of Tungaribandha whose crops have been damaged due to inadequate rainfall. They go the village fields and see the Utali dam filled with water but rues their fate and anguishes at official red tapism which failed to take steps to construct channels. Thikadar Sahu, aged 30 years, owning three acres of ancestral property and three acres of his elder brother’s land as share cropper, had witnessed the destruction of his paddy field due to absence of rain amidst plenty of water of in the Utali dam. He had to take care of his two girl children as well as his ailing elder brother. He has been a part time construction worker and farmers. He had taken loans from SBI, Union Bankl, Utkala Gramya bank and PACS as well as Rs40000 from a micro finance organisation. The cumulative loan was more than 2.1 lakhs. The destruction of HYV variety of paddy due to drought was end of his hope of paying back the burgeoning loan. He ended up life by drinking pesticide.

The script is also similar in the nearby Diptipur-Kirmella village in the neighbouring Gaisalet block where young Premraj Barik, belonging to Kulta cultivating caste, committed suicide by drinking pesticide in his field on 22.11.2015. He had inherited three acres of cultivable land as his ancestral share. He is about 35 years old and left with a young wife and two daughters. He had taken loan of Rs 35000 form Primary Agricultural Credit Cooperatives. He was also a truck driver but left the job in order to live with children and concentrated in cultivation. With the looming fear of drought becoming a reality in October end, he went to Bargarh town in search of becoming a driver again. The crop was failing and he could not get a job as a driver. He came back to village, did not eat for two days and then committed suicide. His relatives are anguished about the apathy of the government representative and political parties across the political spectrum. Tahsildar refused to accept it as a farmer’s suicide. “We need to get united from hereon. We have 135 families and the we have swallowed the insensitivity of political parties and will teach them a lesson during election.”

The villagers also pointed out that the Nlakantia Watershed Project, which was constructed with an amount of 33 lakhs would have made the 8-9 villages green provided it was constructed scientifically. There was no scientific survey of the catchment area and where dykes and check-bunds to be built and hence, Nalakanta reservoir fails to hold water. The story of corruption and apathy also ruined the future of farmers here as well.

In Chadeigaon-Tukurla in Bhatli block, the story was little different. Here, the tribal gond family of Maksir Majhi lost his hand due to an electrical accident. The accident expenses and management of family forced him to sell six out of 13 acres land earlier. He had taken loan of 30 thousand from PACs. The failure of crops dashed his hope of paying back loans incurred to meet with eldest son’s education.
In irrigated zones of Debahal village of Attabira bloc where Sanand Kathar Committed sucide in June 2015k, Khuntapalli in Bargarh block where Uttam Majhi committed suicide, the problems the farmers face vary from the non-iirigatted areas. The financing of childrens’ education, inadequate supply of water to the field due to pressure tactics of big land owners, loans for social expenses have led to suicide. But all cases of farmer’s suicide point out to the distress in agrarian society stemming from multiple sources.

Livelihood on farming
One of the worrying factors in Odisha economy is that even though the share of agriculture to state Gross Domestic Product has decreased from 66.61 % to 17.29 % (2004 constant price), majority, 61.01 % of the state’s population continues to depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Post-liberalisation years have led to creation of jobs in other sectors; however, this was not enough in releasing the pressure load from agriculture. The table below shows that the percentage of cultivators to main workers are declining over decades whereas the percentage of agricultural labours are increasing from 17 in 1961 to 38.4 % in 2011. It suggests that agriculture has become less remunerative and marginal and small farmers are becoming agriculture labour.

Indicators

1950-51

1961

1971

1981

1991

2001

2011

2014-15(AE)

Share of agriculture in GSDP

66.8

49.28

52.29

51.54

36.22

28.47

17.29

15.39

Percentage of TotalPopulation Living in Rural
Area

95.9

93.7

91.6

88.2

87.0

85.01

83.30

 

Percentage of total workforce engaged in agriculture

 

73.8

77.4

74.7

73.0

67.17

61.01

 

P ercentage of Cultivators   
to Main Workers

 

56.8

49.2

46.9

46.9

35.02

38.32

 

Percentage of agricultural labourers to total workers

 

17

28.3

27.8

28.7

35.02

38.4

 

Per Capita Availability Of Cultivated Land (Ha)

0.39

0.38

0.31

 

0.18**

 

 

 

 

The work participation rate in Bargarh is 51.4 % which is more than the state average of 41.8 % suggesting that more people are working in Bargarh. Moreover, rural work participation rate in the district is more than the urban work participation rate suggesting thereby greater numbers of women are working in the field in Bargarh in comparison to the state.  However, in the post-liberalisation period, farmers shifted from cultivation and joined other sectors. While total workers in relation to total population has leapfrogged from 29.75 % in 2001 to 41. 8 % in 2011 in the state, the percentage of cultivators has dwindled substantially in one decade. The percentage of cultivators to total workforce has decreased from 29.75 to 23. % 4 while agricultural labor has increased from 35.02 % in 2001 to 38.4 % in 2011. In Bargarh this is more pronounced. In the district, the percentage of agricultural workers has increased from 41.51 % to 47 %. Unlike the neighbouring Jharsuguda and Sambalpur district where industrialisation has resulted in the shift of workforce to industrials sectors, in Bargarh cultivators preferred to become agricultural labours or started migrating to outside the state.

Growth rate in agriculture and suicide of farmers: Is it an anachronism!
Agriculture remains mainstay of livelihood for 61 percent of Odisha’s population and hence it has remained a priority sector for government. The Government of Odisha has received Krishi Karman Award for three times in last four years and therefore, government’s efforts towards improving agriculture conditions has been recognised and lauded by the central government. Agricultural growth in Odisha has been quite impressive in last decade, except between 2011-13 when several natural disasters, such as Phailin, unseasonal rainfall hits the production and output.

However, irrespective growth and many proactive schemes of the governments, they have not improved peasants’ life substantially. Otherwise, there could not have been a fall in the cultivators and rise in agriculture labour over decades. Further, even though there has been shift of labour force from agriculture to other sectors, especially after the 1991, this shift does not commensurate with the shift in sectoral composition of GDP. An analysis of the sectoral decomposition of GDP reveals that share of Agriculture to state GDP has decreased from 67.44 % to 15.53 whereas the share of the services sector has increased from 26.36 % to 51.16 %. The share of manufacturing sector to GSDP has increased from 6 to 33.45 % of the state GDP. Therefore, the employment in manufacturing and service sector has not been commensurate well by the massive growth the secondary and tertiary sectors witnessed in 65 years.

Table 2: Gross State domestic Product by Broad Sectors with 2004-05 Base (Constant Price) between 2000-2014


Year

Annual Growth Rate of GSDP

                                 Agriculture

 

           Industry

 

                              Services

 

At 2004-05

% Share in Total GSDP

Annual Growth Rate (%)

% Share in Total GSDP

Annual Growth Rate (%)

% Share in Total GSDP

Annual Growth Rate (%)

Prices

        At 2004-05 Base

At 2004-05 Base

At 2004-05 Base

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

2000-01

-1.72

26

-6.63

18.39

-2.83

55.61

1.15

2001-02

4.81

28.47

14.76

17.02

-3.02

54.51

2.75

2002-03

-0.08

24.14

-15.26

18.64

9.4

57.22

4.89

2003-04

12.84

25.72

20.21

20.6

24.72

53.68

5.86

2004-05

12.82

23.49

3.04

23.71

29.85

52.8

10.96

2005-06

5.68

22.97

3.34

23.03

2.64

54

8.08

2006-07

12.85

20.75

1.94

25.33

24.13

53.92

12.68

2007-08

10.94

19.57

4.66

27.61

20.94

52.82

8.67

2008-09

7.75

18.5

1.87

27.24

6.32

54.25

10.67

2009-10

4.55

19.07

7.74

24.74

-5.08

56.19

8.29

2010-11

8.01

17.99

1.9

34.35

8.1

56.19

10.45

2011-12

3.98

17.2

-0.59

34.21

3.57

47.66

6

2012-13

3.76

18.39

10.97

37.72

-0.76

48.89

4.4

2013-14

1.82

16.3

-9.78

33.08

2.95

50.62

5.43

2014-15

8.08

15.39

2.06

33.45

9.27

51.16

9.24

 

The failure of crops due to natural factors, such as unseasonal rainfall and Phailin (2013) accounted for very slow agricultural growth from 2011-14 which resulted in accumulation of debts. Despite robust growth in 2014-15 during which agriculture grew by 8.08 % in Odisha, the lack of rainfall in this season complicated the situation and further exasperated the woes of the farmers.

Operational holding: Preponderance of marginal and small farmers and tenancy on rise
The table below presents size of the landholding since 1961 in Odisha. The table reveals that there is increase in marginalised and small holding in Odisha over decades. Marginal farmers now constitute 72.17 % of the operational holding and the average size of the landholding has reduced from 1.89 hec to 1.03 hec in 2010-11. Greater fragmentation of land, coupled with mechanisation of agriculture and rise in input cost has resulted in rise in overall cost of production. The input cost has hit the tenant hodlers hard as they do not enjoy any right in case of crop loss. For instance, farmers whose rabi crops were damaged to hailstorm in 2012 got compensation money in 2015.

Table 3: Size of class operational holding in Odisha


Size class of operational holding

% of operational holding

% of operated area

 

1961-62

1971-72

1981-2

1991-92

2000-01

2010-11

1961-62

1971-72

1981-2

1991-92

2000-01

2010-11

Lesss than 1 (marginal)

39.42

54.52

54.45

59.99

56.42

72.17

6.97

18.60

17.02

22.09

22.73

39.53

Small (1-2 )

22.92

25.78

26.11

24.34

27.38

19.68

12.51

27.32

26.48

30.16

30.38

30.81

Semi medium (2-4)

19.65

13.90

14.08

12.02

12.31

6.67

20.73

27.06

26.16

27.87

26.46

18.90

Medium (4-10)

13.66

5.25

4.63

3.36

3.57

1.36

31.04

21.56

17.84

16.20

16.09

7.84

large Above ten hec

4.35

.55

.73

0.29

0.33

0.12

28.75

5.46

12.50

3.68

4.34

2.92

Average size of the holding х

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.89

1.59

1.34

1.24

1.03

All sizes

100

100

100

100

 

 

100

100

100

100

100

100

Source: (a) N.S.S Report 17  Round (1961-62); (b) N.S.S. Report 26  Round (1971-72); (c) N.S.S Report 37 Round (198182); (d) N.S.S Report 48  Round (1991-92).For 2000-01 and 2010-11, data from Statistical Abstract of Odisha, 2012. P.40 X: taken from statistical abstract of Odisha, 2012

However, the tenant farmers did not receive any compensation. Historically the leasedout land has decreased in Odisha due to abolition of Zaminadri and land ceiling reforms but tenant holding constitutes about 14.83 % of the total landholding in 2005. The situation has worsened in recent years with many of the traditional peasant castes such as Khandayats, Chasas and Kultas have left agriculture for other sectors and tenant landholding, especially from lower marginalised SCs and STs has increased in the last ten years. Three out of eight deceased farmers we visited in Bargarh belonged to STs and SCs and these tenant farmers are without any protection. There is no law for tenant farmers in Odisha as it exists in Kerala and Bengal. The net outcome of this lack of recognition is that the tenant farmers are deprived from all the benefits of the government in agriculture- input subsidy, agro loan, crop insurance and host of other welfare measures.

Rising Expenditure and debt
The cultivating class, especially the marginal and small famers, began to suffer from many disadvantages in recent years even though the terms of trade is in favour of agriculture in recent years.[8]  The pricing policies of fertilisers in 2003 have resulted in sharp rise in fertiliser cost. Increasing mechanisation of agriculture has resulted in more monetary expenses in input. The popularisation of HYV has resulted in purchase of seeds from Primary agriculture cooperatives. The agriculture labour cost has increased. The cumulative effect of the rise in the cost has made agriculture largely unremunerative. The MSP has ensured minimum prices for paddy. However, the increase in MSP was upset by growing expenses in education, health and other sectors. NSS data reveal greater household expenditure in education and health in recent times. The penetration of mobile phone, cable TV, electricity coupled with rising aspiration of rural peasantry has upset the increase in the MSP. One of the deceased farmers relations said that education and health expenses had gone up substantially. “if you aspire to make your child educated so that they can get jobs in other sectors and free from the whirpool of poverty and uncertainty, then the only way to do so is to borrow money.”  All families we visited are in the midst of severe debt burden. The NSS data (70th Round, Key indicators of situations of agricultural households in India) suggest that total consumption expenditure exceeds the income from different sources for marginal, small and medium farmers. 

Table 4: Average monthly income from different sources, consumption expenditure and net productive assets created per agricultural household during July 2012-June 2013 for each class of land possessed (All India data)

Size of class of land possessed (ha) Income from wages/salary Net receipt from cultivation Net receipt from farming of animals Net receipt from non-farm business Total income Total consumption expenditure in Rs Net in productive assets (Rs)
<0.01
2902
30
1181
447
4561
5108
55
0.01-0.40
2386
687
621
459
4152
54001
251
0-41-1.00
2011
2145
629
462
5247
6020
540
1.01-200
1728
4209
818
593
7348
6457
422
2.01-4.00
1657
7359
1161
554
10730
7786
746
4.01-10.00
2031
15243
1501
861
19637
10104
1975
10
1311
35685
2622
1770
41388
1447
6987

In addition to consumption there are social expenditure and educational and health expenditure if the wards of families are studying in private technical or vocational education or family members were hospitalised for ailments, The NSS data (71st round: Key Indicators of social consumption: education) indicate that the expenditure in technical and vocational education is four times more than the expenditure in general education. The average expenses for one episode of hospitalisation stands at Rs 16956 in rural area.[9] 

Added to these rising health and social expenditure is the difficulty the peasants face in selling the paddy in MSP prices. Sanand Kathar of Debahal village who committed suicide in June 2015 could not sale their paddy to PACs. PAcs insisted on producing the Memebership Identity Card for selling paddy to PACs. It did not issue the Identity Card to Sanand because he had not paid the irrigation tax. The distirct adminsitration had given a verbal order to PAcs not to issue ID card and procude paddy of farmers who had not paid their irirrigation tax arrears. At a time when the water arrears of the Corporates of Odisha runs into thousands of crore and there is increasing evidence of illegal pumping of water, the insistence on payment of water charges on peasants is an irony and speaks of the double standard of the government.

The cumulative result is that there is growing incidence of indebtedness. In case of crop failure, the income from agriculture almost becomes zero. In such situation of crop failure which recurred quite often in the last five years, the expenditure was met by making loans. The rural indebtedness position seems to acquire a serious proportion as the NSS data suggest. 57.5 % agricultural households have outstanding loan. The average loan for agriculture households who have taken loan in Odisha today stands at Rs 28200 while the national average is Rs 47 thousand.[10] However, the deceased families we interacted with, the average loan per household exceeds 2 lakhs.

Declining social support
The mounting indebtedness and crop failure have led to separate situation for the head of peasant household. Drunken behaviour further heightens the stress level as it results in fighting in the family. The desperation and conflict finally ended up in suicide. One noticeable aspect during our field visit is that there is total lack of social support for the deceased family. All of them are living as independent households separated from their adult brothers. In one Gond tribal family in Barpalli block where the father had committed suicide, the grown-up children had no idea about the problem of father even though they lived together. In another, the elder brother does not know about the emotional turmoil of the younger brother. The village life is becoming nucleated. Everyday interaction has given to watching of evening soap opera in cable TV. In such atmosphere isolation and nucleaisation, there is a social crisis of trust and cooperation brewing in rural society. In such social situation when the breadearner commits suicide, the other members become destitute adn the children orphaned.

Recognise tenant as unit and extend government schemes
Bargarh is one district where the peasants were organised since 1960s when socialist leader Kissen Pattnaik organised peasants and formed Kishan Sangathan at Bargarh. The farmers of Bargarh, especially the medium and large, benefitted from Hirakud Command Area, and is keen to protect their rights. Post liberalisation years saw protests against mining-based industrialisations in different areas of Odisha, including in Gandhamardhan against Birla which was led by leaders and farmers of Kisan Sangathaan. Therefore, the peasant associations of Bargarh voiced the demands of the farmers and demanded for pro-agricultural policies from the government, including the right to first use of water for agriculture. Even though there is a political consciousness about liberalisaiton and privatisation across ideological spectrums of political parties in India, democratically elected government can ill-afford to ignore the demands of the peasants. Therefore, there have been several policies and programmes for agriculture, including impressive credit expansion, irrigation expansion, mechanisation of agriculture and Minimum support price for paddy. However, they have been inadequate to address the real issues. In the heart of the agricultural problem in Odisha lies the problem of tenant farmers. Increasing fragmentation of land, rise of input cost, opportunities in government jobs have made the traditional cultivating class of kultas, chasis and khandayats leave agriculture in the post liberalisation years. In the first three decades after independence it was the Brahmin and karanas landowning classes who had left agriculture to join government service, and in the post-liberalisation years, the traditional land-owning castes like kultas now find other sectors more attractive.

One consequence of rising agricultural wage as well as livelihood opportunities in NREGA and other sectors mean that the marginalised castes and tribes of Odisha had become free from the clutches of landowning upper castes. Their labour is a premium which they bargained with the land-owning class.[11] The halia (tenant) class successfully bargained with the landowning class (gauntia) for better share of cropping. However, the government continues to treat them as persona non-grata. Even though government has expanded its activities in agriculture in many ways, tenant farmers on whom rests agriculture in Odisha today, is outside of the governmentality.[12] Therein lies the cause of crisis in agriculture in Odisha.

A large number of suicides are modes of social protest against the apathy of the governmental apparatus and political parties. One family member of Kermeli village states, “our silent tragedies are dismissed by the Tahsildar and political parties, who are not ready to accept the cases as farmers’ suicide. The present political structure is not ready to lend voice to our grievance. Only when we agitate and raise our voices, we will be heard of.” But this is a classical question: Can subaltern speak? Are peasant protests merely agitations by prosperous peasants for more subsidies and assured income? Who will speak for agricultural labour and marginal & small farmers?

Notes
1. Panchanan Kanungo, the former Finance Minister in the first term of Navin Patnaik as Chief Minister (2000-2004) argue that most of the tenant farmers are agricultural labourers.  The Samaj, 18.11.2015
2.The New India Express, Bhubaneswar edition  January 10, 2013
3. The Sambad, dated 23.11..2015
4. The Samaj, dated 24.11.2015
5. The development of capitalism in agriculture in Bargarh has been studied by Utsa Patnaik. One of her major arguments is that even though the labourers were legally not tied to the land of land owners, there were hardly any options outside of agriculture for them. The situation has changed over the  years. See Patnaik (1972).
6. http://www.dowrorissa.gov.in/Irrigation/IrrigationScenario.pdf  downloaded on 18.11..2015
7. http://www.dowrorissa.gov.in/35MasterPlan/MasterPlan.htm
8. The terms of trade of trade has sharply accelerated in favour of agriculture vis-a-vis manufactured and services sectors from 2005 onwards.  Similarly agricultural prices have increased due to increase in Minimum Support Prices (Krishnaswamy & Rajakumar 2015: 82-84) . But the favourable ToT (terms of trade) or price rise of agricultural commodities benefitted only propsoeprous peasants.  A study by Shah and Makwana (2013) re-established the well-known fact that only large farmers are in a position to stock part of their marketable surplus of crops for future sales in anticipation of price increases. Generally, small and marginal farmers dispose their surplus within three months of the harvest due to the lack of appropriate storage facilities, a need to repay debt, and so on. Thus, a majority of households are sure to depend on foodgrain purchases from the market with no appreciable gains to derive from the observed increase in agricultural prices. The ToT in favour of agriculture would have benefi ted large farmers, giving rise to increasing inequality in rural India
9. Social Consumption: Health, [NSS KI (71/25.0)], 71 round,
10. Key Indicators of Situation Assessment of Agricultural Households, Report no NSS KI (70/33),  NSS 70th round, 2013, p. A-18
11. Kailas Sarap (1991) in his field work on rural wages in Odisha in 1991 finds that average wage rate as well as total wage income for agricultural labour is very low, which is contrary. This is contrary to present condition in rural India ( Chand and Srivastava ) Ramesh Chand and S K Srivastava “Changes in the Rural Labour Market and Their Implications for Agriculture
12. The issue of governementality and emergence of political society have been proposed as conceptual categories in the  politics of post colonial politics by Parth Chaterjee ( 2004).
Kailas Sarap (1991) in his field work on rural wages in Odisha in 1991 finds that average wage rate as well as total wage income for agricultural labour is very low, which is contrary. This is contrary to present condition in rural India ( Chand and Srivastava ) Ramesh Chand and S K Srivastava “Changes in the Rural Labour Market and Their Implications for Agriculture”
13. The issue of governementality and emergence of political society have been proposed as conceptual categories in the politics of post colonial politics by Parth Chaterjee ( 2004).

References
Bhalla, G.S .2007. Indian Agriculture since Independence, Delhi: National book Trust.
Krishnaswamy, R Rajakumar, R J Dennis (2015) “Recent Trends in Inter-Sectoral Terms of Trade,” EPW, January 31, 2015, vol. No. 5, 82-85.
Patnaik, Utsa, 1972. Capitalism in Agriculture-I, Social Scientist, Vol 1, No. 2: 15-31.
Shah, V D and M Makwana (2013) Marketed and Marketable Surplus of Major Food Grains in Rajasthan, AERC Report 150, Sardar Patel University, Anand.
Sarap, Kailas. 1991 “Changing Contractual Arrangement in Agriculture Labour Market Evidence from Orissa”, Economic and Political Weekly, December 28,1991, pp 167-175.
Chaterjee, Partha. 2004. Politics of the Governed, Delhi: Permanent Black.

About Authors
Radhakanta Barik is a visiting professor of Public Administration at Ravenshaw University, Cuttack. His email id: [email protected] and no: 09968401713
Umakanta Mishra is a lecturer in the Department of History, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack. His email id: [email protected]; mobile: 09938002373

Frontier
Aug 16, 2018


Umakanta Mishra [email protected] & Prof Radhakanta Barik [email protected]

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